Product Management and The Importance of Understanding the Customer

Imprivata SVP of Product Management Barbara Dumery joined the Product Hero podcast last month to talk technology and all things product management. Sponsored by the team at Fresh Tilled Soil , this bi-weekly podcast interviews outstanding members of the Product Management community.

In her talk with Heath Umbach, Barbara describes her career journey, the ways she and her team collaborate, and what it takes to be a Product Manager.

Epic is a company that she admires as they “approached the market being one of the first vendors that brought together the inpatient and outpatient worlds; I really admire the way that they went to the market with confidence. It’s almost [like] they were picking customers versus customers selecting them. They [are] always very focused on their mission.” Similarly in her role at Imprivata, Barbara’s team understanding the customers’ needs when discovering new solutions to positively transform the health IT industry.

In terms of Product Management, Barbara says she’s excited about the big shift to the cloud and new entry data points. She says, “People are starting to think not just about the medical devices within the hospital but also telehealth and telemonitoring. All this data being collected: How do you make sure it’s the right patient and right clinician accessing that info? The small world within the hospital [is] getting much bigger.”

The most difficult challenge in Product Management, according to Barbara, is “not being focused enough on the customer problem.” She has seen teams fail when they “veer off that focus” – often because there’s an artificial business goal in the way.  Imprivata’s method is to listen to customers’ insights and interpret them to understand what the customer needs in their daily clinical workflows. Barbara is a big believer in product discovery and can’t have an idea sit within the company for more than 2 weeks: “We’ll fall in love with it [and] have to get it out to customers [to] really validate it.”

Thorough her work at Imprivata, Barbara has been able help customers save time, cut down costs and improve patient safety across the healthcare continuum. With a customer-focused product development, Barbara and her team are able to discover new solutions for the industry and use them to improve clinical and patient satisfaction. The Imprivata focus on creating “customers for life” is a motivator for Barbara and her team on a daily basis.

Barbara’s advice to people wanting to become a Product Manager is to think strategically; know how to talk to customers – with an open mindset and critical approach; be technically adept; and have a high level of appreciation for development. It also helps to know when to push back and accelerate deliverables; how to master basic-level multitasking; and staying organized while maintaining clear thinking and communications.

Product Management has a big responsibility for the future of a company– those foundational steps that determine where a company goes next in a market and with a product. Because only a few people within an organization are directly responsible for that future, the relevant team must be able to stay focused on the customer problem and know how to execute.

Listen to the podcast here.